CATEGORY: Enterprise Portals

REVIEWER: Glen Davidson, president, P.A.T.LiVE, a division of ATG Technologies, Inc.

BACKGROUND: P.A.T.LiVE, a division of ATG Technologies, Inc., is a communications company providing a full- service virtual office with live assistance known as P.A.T. (Personal Assistant Team). P.A.T., combined with toll-free, computerized voice and fax services for advertising response, network marketing, corporate and prospect communication, affords businesses the luxury of superior live customer service.

PLATFORMS: Enterprise Interaction Center (EIC) from Interactive Intelligence, Inc. runs on Windows NT.

PROBLEM SOLVED: P.A.T.LiVE's three buildings on its corporate campus were linked using EIC to allow for seamless communication between P.A.T.LiVE's staff members and customers. In addition, EIC automated all of P.A.T.LiVE's communications creating an enterprise portal through which customers were offered more efficient service via self-help options and faster access to live agents.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: EIC's event-driven architecture functions as an enterprise portal that links P.A.T.LiVE's communications (phone calls, faxes, e-mails and Web interactions) with back-end systems to automatically trigger events such as database changes, system queries, system alerts, etc. P.A.T.LiVE uses EIC's PBX, Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), unified messaging and fax services. EIC's PBX offers basic switching, transfer and conference operations. EIC's IVR offers a menu of multiple 800 numbers that routes calls directly to the appropriate ACD group, personal fax or personal 800 number. The ACD serves three P.A.T.LiVE groups for accounting, customer service and internal IS support. DNIS is used to route callers to the appropriate ACD group. When P.A.T.LiVE customers in the customer service queue have been on hold for three minutes, EIC rings a bell in the call center to let the agents know calls are beginning to stack up. If the call remains holding for another minute, EIC flashes a light at the front of the room and an e-mail is sent to the center manager to indicate that a call waited four minutes before being answered. All P.A.T.LiVE staff members have Microsoft Exchange accounts that are used for voice mail, fax and e-mail for full unified messaging functionality. Users have workstations running Microsoft Outlook as the e-mail client. Outlook provides a universal inbox that acts as a repository for all message types. EIC's fax capabilities allow agents to immediately fax help documents to customers directly from their workstations. P.A.T.LiVE has developed a special EIC application called PocketHelp. If a customer is in the P.A.T.LiVE system and needs help, they press "0." Their system goes off-hook on a port connected to an EIC station and dials the customer service queue. EIC places these calls on the top of the queue using ACD priority so they are handled first. After the agent hangs up, EIC plays tones across the station and the customer is put back into the P.A.T.LiVE system where they started. P.A.T.LiVE has also used EIC to create a voice mail trigger for faster customer access to staff members. Every time a voice mail is sent on the EIC system, a handler (set of instructions) is called to check and see if the staff member has a beeper and wants to be paged. If the staff member is found, their beeper number and preferred beep time (e.g., between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.) is inserted into a beeper table. Another handler using the Timer initiator runs every five minutes and polls the table to see if there are any records within the preferred beep time. If so, the handler dials the beeper to notify the staff member that someone has left a voice mail message.

STRENGTHS: EIC's strengths include a single, multichannel interaction management platform; an open, software- based architecture; and a built-in graphical application generator. Combined, these capabilities have reduced start-up and maintenance costs, simplified administration tasks and made customization of customer applications fast and easy.

WEAKNESSES: Right now, EIC doesn't scale to meet the needs of our projected growth. With Interactive Intelligence's incorporation of new high-density boards scheduled for release in Q3 2000, however, we hope to overcome this issue.

SELECTION CRITERIA: EIC was an all-in-one solution. Instead of buying a separate box for recording, monitoring and call routing, we only needed a single product.

DELIVERABLES: EIC produces reports enabling P.A.T.LiVE to track productivity, traffic patterns and incoming call flow.

VENDOR SUPPORT: EIC's vendor support has been prompt in answering questions and helping P.A.T.LiVE implement the software.

DOCUMENTATION: In addition to comprehensive help files and documentation that's shipped with EIC, Interactive Intelligence also offers an online knowledge base that gives answers to customers' most commonly asked questions.

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